COUNTRY music sTARS
COUNTRY music sTARS
COUNTRY music sTARS
Mason Crest MIAMI • MINNEAPOLIS
Mason Crest PO Box 221876, Hollywood, FL 33022 (866) MCP-BOOK (toll-free) www.masoncrest.com
Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher.
First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ISBN (hardback) 978-1-4222-4488-3 ISBN (series) 978-1-4222-4486-9 ISBN (ebook) 978-1-4222-7323-4
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file
Names: Dronsfield, Alyeska, author. Title: Blake Shelton / Alyeska Dronsfield. Description: Broomall : Mason Crest, 2023. | Series: Country music stars | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020003287 | ISBN 9781422244883 (hardback) | ISBN 9781422273234 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Shelton, Blake–Juvenile literature. | Country musicians–United States–Biography–Juvenile literature. Classification: LCC ML3930.S485 D76 2021 | DDC 782.421642092 [B]–dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020003287
Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Andrew Luke Production: Crafted Content, LLC
Contents BREAKTHROUGH ������������������������������������������������������������������ 6 CHAPTER 1: A STAR IS BORN �����������������������������������������������������11 CHAPTER 2: GREATEST MOMENTS ������������������������������������������������25 CHAPTER 3: BEHIND THE CURTAIN ���������������������������������������������39 CHAPTER 4: BRAND BLAKE SHELTON ������������������������������������������ 51 CHAPTER 5: MODERN MEGASTAR ������������������������������������������������65 SERIES GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS ���������������������������������������������76 FURTHER READING ����������������������������������������������������������������77 INTERNET RESOURCES ������������������������������������������������������������77 INDEX �������������������������������������������������������������������������������78 AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY, PHOTO CREDITS & EDUCATIONAL VIDEO LINKS ������80
Key Icons to Look For
WORDS TO UNDERSTAND: These words, with their easy-to-understand definitions, will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills.
EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing themwith additional educational content to supplement the text. SIDEBARS: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives.
TEXT-DEPENDENT QUESTIONS: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there.
RESEARCH PROJECTS: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. SERIES GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series.Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.
WORDS TO UNDERSTAND ballad —a song that tells a story in a narrative form cameo —a minor role in theatrical media played by a well-known or famous person opry —an establishment that houses live country and folk music shows
A NEW FACE IN THE COUNTRY Upon the release of his first single “Austin,” Blake Shelton’s song quickly became a hit. “Austin” debuted at No. 58 on Billboard Country Music charts. The single climbed the charts, ultimately claiming the No. 1 spot for five weeks. Almost as soon as “Austin” was released, Giant Records went out of business, leaving the fate of the single and of Shelton’s career unknown. Luckily, the song and Shelton’s record deal passed effortlessly into the hands of Warner Brothers, allowing Shelton to continue building his career without a hitch. A STAR IS BORN “Giant Records closed on a Friday, and the next Monday my record debuted on the charts and I thought it was over. I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m out of here.’ But Warner Bros. got excited about it, embraced me and it’s just been incredible. They’ve just taken the ball and ran with it. It’s been great. They’re really, really working hard for me.”
a star is born
Blake Shelton, during an interview at the Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Country Music Awards, tells the story of how he came across “Austin” and how he became a country star.
Shelton’s first album, the self-titled Blake Shelton , was already completed by the time “Austin” was released. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard Country Music chart and was awarded gold status. It has since become platinum. Two weeks before he released his album, Shelton’s first music video premiered on Country MusicTelevision (CMT). The video featured a production stage on which Shelton was standing in front of a first-generation Ford Mustang and singing “Austin” to an uncredited woman on a projector screen. “All Over Me” and “Ol’ Red,” his follow-up singles, placed on the charts at Nos. 14 and 18, respectively. “Ol’ Red” got its own fast-paced music video with cameo appearances from Bobby Braddock, his mentor-turned producer; Kirsti Manna, co-writer of his hit “Austin”; NASCAR racer Elliott Sadler; and actor J.K. Simmons. Shelton attended the 2001 BMI Country Awards and his “All Over Me” won a place on the Top 50 Country Songs chart.
After “Austin” put Shelton on the map, he began playing to bigger and bigger crowds.
Shelton had an overwhelmingly positive reception to his hit singles and debut album, which were the result of seven years of hard work and, according to him, a whole lot of waiting.
“The whole time has been sitting around and hoping and waiting and praying, and just nothing going on whatsoever. Now all of a sudden we can’t even keep up with the thing, it’s happening so fast. Which to me, you know, bring it on. Make me as busy as you possibly can, because I’m rested up, I’ve been waiting for this forever. But the fact that it’s taking off so fast couldn’t be more perfect for me.”
a star is born
The country music newbie hit his stride after the success of his first album, producing 13 No. 1 country hits in the next 20 years. Now it’s the music world that waits for what Shelton will do next, but it wasn’t always that way. EARLY YEARS Blake Shelton was born on June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma, a small town with a population of around 15,000. From an early age, Shelton was drawn to the musical side of his life. When he was eight years old, his mother, having heard him constantly singing in his bedroom, entered him into a local pageant, which was his first performance in front of a live audience—“a good way to not start off,” he recalls. “Look, in Ada, Oklahoma, if you want to be a singer in 1984, there’s not a lot of options, and so I was in my bedroom singing every night and my mom thought it was cute, and she asked me, you know, ‘Do you want to sing on stage? Do you want to be a singer?’ ‘Yeah!’ So really the only option was whatever pageants for kids was going on, there was a talent portion, you got to perform, so I had to do these pageants in order to be able to get up and sing my Bob Seger.” Shelton did a few more local pageants afterward until he couldn’t stand it anymore. “I hated it so much that I almost, like, didn’t want to be a singer anymore,” he laughed. Shelton’s history with pageant life is a common topic of interview conversation even today. Every time he is asked, Shelton complains that the subject is even brought up. “It’s embarrassing!You get beat up! When you go to school, they go, ‘You were in a pageant? Haha!’ And then I would hit them and then I’d get beat up.”
As a teenager, Shelton taught himself to play the guitar.
a star is born
“There were only like, five kids at my school,” he added. “We all knew what each other did.” As Shelton grew older, he taught himself how to play the guitar. He wrote his first song, titled “That Girl Made a Fool Out of Me,” when he was fifteen years old.
“It was about a girl who I had a crush on in high school and who, looking back on it, honestly didn’t care too much about me. I was feeling sorry for myself, so I sat down and wrote (“That Girl Made a Fool Out of Me”). I think it’s probably in the ‘top ten of worst songs ever written in the history of the earth. Hands down, easily. It’s pitiful, trust me on this.” While at high school, Shelton became more involved with local country shows and was a regular performer in local bars, theaters, and Ada’s Opry by the time he was seventeen. Ada’s McSwainTheatre, a 560-seat venue, was one of Shelton’s favorite places to perform as a teen. “It was probably the actual reason that I ended up pursuing country music as a career,” Shelton said regarding the McSwainTheatre. During one of Shelton’s performances at the Opry, he had an opportunity to meet Mae Boren Axton, famed co-writer of Elvis Presley’s hit song “Heartbreak Hotel” and known as the “Queen Mother of Nashville.” Raised in Oklahoma, Axton became known as a guiding light for young country hopefuls, includingWillie Nelson and Dolly Parton, among others. Axton encouraged Shelton to move to Nashville to pursue his dream of becoming a famous country singer. Accepting Axton’s advice, seventeen-year-old Shelton left his hometown in 1994 to move to Nashville, Tennessee. He had only graduated high school two weeks prior.
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